While there are plenty of webmail services available online - from Hotmail to Yahoo - Gmail is my favourite. However, it could be better.

Here are a few tips to help you organise, optimise, and take control of your Gmail so you'll spend less time sorting through your email messages. (Don't worry: 'Use filters' isn't one of them.)

Better Gmail 2

Better Gmail 2 is a Firefox add-on that fixes some minor deficiencies of Gmail, such as showing the Inbox Count first in the Gmail window title, hiding your Invites box, and highlighting rows with the mouse pointer.

If Google Chrome is your primary browser, you can still use Better Gmail 2; just go to the Firefox extension site for Better Gmail 2 and add each of the Greasemonkey scripts individually by clicking on the links in 'More about this add-on'. To install, simply click Install as user script.

Create keywords

If you have a message that you know will be important later (for example, one related to a password, an airline ticket, or a legal notice), and you want to be able to find it the moment you need it, do yourself a favour and identify it with keywords. Whenever I receive an important email message, I forward it to myself (which doesn't pose a problem with mailbox real estate, as messages are shown in conversation format) after typing, in the forwarded message, a few words that might come to mind when I next search for it.

If it's an airline ticket, for example, I may type 'airline, ticket, Virgin America, New York, summer, 2010' and forward that message to myself. Later, when I need to find that ticket, I can find it easily by searching. Sure, you could label such messages as 'important' or 'airline tickets', but it's still simpler to search than to wade through a bunch of 'important' starred messages.

NEXT PAGE: Gmail Labs

  1. These tips will let you take a long lunch
  2. Gmail Labs
  3. Gmail Manager 0.6
  4. Sort mail from multiple accounts
  5. Optional dots